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Possible Coronavirus Exposure Affects Business In San Diego City Hall

San Diego City Council members meet in chambers on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.
City of San Diego
San Diego City Council members meet in chambers on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

After a positive coronavirus test from inside council chambers, there are questions about how San Diego’s city business will move forward.

A city of San Diego spokesperson said a city employee who was at Tuesday's council meeting has tested positive for COVID-19. That news forced some into quarantine, including council member Chris Cate.

Possible Coronavirus Exposure Affects Business In San Diego City Hall
Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

"I don't have any symptoms — first and foremost," Cate told KPBS during a virtual interview from his home.


Cate and council members Vivian Moreno, Scott Sherman and Monica Montgomery were all present during Tuesday's meeting.

"The city has identified and informed every individual who was in proximity of this person to request that they contact their medical provider to schedule a test and self-quarantine for the next two weeks," said Craig Gustafson, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s spokesman.

"The City is committed to the safety of its facilities and will ensure that every individual gets the care and resources they need."

Gustafson would not elaborate on how many city employees may have contact with the staffer who tested positive.

City council president Georgette Gómez said Thursday she is considering how to move forward. A council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday. Some of the councilmembers have already been teleconferencing into meetings.


"We are in the process of evaluating how to safely move forward with critical city business," Gómez said. "My best wishes for a quick recovery are with the employee who tested positive."

Cate said he hopes that with the use of teleconferencing or other means, city meetings will continue as usual.

"I don't think city business needs to be impacted negatively by it," he said. "I'm chairing a committee on Wednesday — council [meeting] Tuesday and I'm chairing a committee Wednesday afternoon for economic development and we’re planning on moving forward. I can call in virtually."

In the meantime, Cate, who is married with two children, is now separating himself from his family.

"If I do go out and about to get food or whatever else, I'm masking up as well inside my house too, just to be cautious here at home," Cate said.

There are coronavirus protocols in place for city employees, including checking temperatures before entering buildings, physical distancing and wearing face coverings.

When asked if the person who tested positive did a temperature screening before Tuesday’s council meeting, a city spokesperson said, "If your temp is high, you’re not allowed in the building."

New COVID-19 testing sites have opened just for teachers and school staff. All school staff who interact with children must be tested every two months. The County Office of Education says that means 40,000 tests per month. Also, after a positive coronavirus test within the San Diego City Council chambers - questions swirl over what to do next And, a preview of KPBS’ Trigger Tracker, where we examine the 13 data points used to track the coronavirus in San Diego.